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Echoes of Epiphany III

“The spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me; he has sent me to bring good news to the oppressed, to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and release to the prisoners; to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor,” Isaiah 61:1-2a

Vision and purpose has been on my mind a lot lately. As a congregation, we’ve been working our way through a process to at least give a voice to what we envision ourselves to be at St. Matthew’s. It’s a process that can be both frustrating and enlightening, because it calls us into not only looking at ourselves, but to do so in the light of many calls to action that we find throughout the Bible. The common theme throughout the Biblical stories is that vision is not about where we are, but where we are going. Moses voiced God’s vision of freedom, which meant moving out of the familiar into the new. In this passage from Isaiah, the prophet spoke of a vision of freedom and hope to exiles living in Babylon; soon they would be leaving their prisons behind. It wasn’t about where they were, but where they were going. Years later, Jesus reads this passage in his own hometown, proclaiming Isaiah’s vision for a new generation, saying that the time is now.

In many ways, we can relate to exiles in Babylon, or the malaise of the people under Roman rule in Jesus’ time. Uncertain futures, not being sure of where we are going, and it doesn’t help with the current economic climate we find ourselves in. Yet it was into circumstances even worse than this that Isaiah speaks a vision of hope. If there’s an Epiphany moment to be had, it is realizing that God has been, is, and continues to call us forward into this vision of being God’s people for a new generation.

During this season of Epiphany and beyond, I will continue to send out these weekly reflections. You may also check out our website at http://www.st-matthews-uc.org for recent sermons, updates, and reflections.

Yours in Christ,

John

Upcoming Events

  • The Taming of the Shrew, Mondays at 10am in the Conference Room.
  • Wednesday, January 27th: Sandwich Day for the Drop-In Centre.
  • Friday, February 5th: “Happy Hearts Hop” – Valentine’s Day Party – 6:30pm in Fitzgerald Hall.
    • Join us for an evening of crafts and snacks. Come out and celebrate the love of family at this family fun night.
  • Sunday, March 6th: Annual General Meeting
    • Preparations are underway for our next annual congregational meeting. Wendy is now receiving written submissions for the 2015 Annual Report, which we would like in the office by February 10th.
  • The Dead Sea Scrolls Seminar
    • Coming soon I will be offering a short course/seminar on the Dead Sea Scrolls. Originally I planned to offer this in February, but as I am going to be partnering with the Calgary Association of Lifelong Learners (CALL), I’ve agreed with them to delay its start to better work with their schedule. Look to this space for more details!
  • Congregational Membership Classes
    • If you or someone you know would like to formalize membership with St. Matthew’s, I am hoping to run a membership class in the next few months. If you are interested, please email me, call me at the church, or speak with me directly on Sunday mornings.

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